Sunday, 16 November 2014

No Asian nation has emerged by itself, says don

KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Malaysia exists by virtue of the people's cooperation and dependency on one another in keeping with the historical traditions of South East Asia.

"There has never been an Asian country that has emerged by itself and been entirely independent on its own according to history," said Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Associate Professor Dr. Farish A. Noor.

He made these assertions during the 4th Kinabalu Lecture Series held at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

Farish was commenting on the 'Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia' (SSKM) movement that of late has been propagating the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia.

"It's sad that you have such sentiments because the federation of Malaysia is precisely that, it's a federation, and I think why local sentiments might emerge sometimes is perhaps due to frustration.

"We have always needed each other and depended upon each other, which is somehow encapsulated in the spirit of the federation, therefore, showing its importance.

"I still place value on the idea of the federation because the notion of the federation immediately reminds us that even as nation, even as states, we are never entirely self-reliant in the way we have the Asean community which tells us that that there is no single country that could survive alone.

"Singapore cannot survive alone, Indonesia cannot survive alone, Malaysia cannot survive alone," he added.

Towards this end he stated that the Asian identity has always been a construct that has been developed historically.

"In the past, what made Asia so rich economically, culturally, was our ability to accept and meet with diversity and pluralism," he explained. Given that Asia is a constructed idea Asians must therefore understand that they have a role to play, define themselves and search for their identities.

"And so as we talk about the coming of the Asian century and the age of Asian integration, as Asians ourselves living in Asia, we must feel our own history, our personalities, our lives are part of this bigger picture and that we should play our part in appreciating our historical role as Asians."

Asia, according to Farish is about to enter a new era of unprecedented development and integration on a scale people would not have imagined about ten years ago.

The programme which was organised by the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Heritage was attended by about 200 lecturers and students.

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